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Caught Drink Driving

By: Dave Howell - Updated: 21 Jan 2019 | comments*Discuss
Drink Driving Blood Alcohol Level Breath

The police can stop you if they suspect you are driving under the influence of alcohol. Also, if the police suspect you are about to drive a vehicle (for instance you have your keys in your hands and are just leaving a pub) you can also be stopped and asked to take a drink-driving test. You may also be asked to take a breath test if you are involved in a road traffic accident.

There are three general drink-driving offences:

  • Being in charge of a vehicle when you are over the legal alcohol limit.
  • Driving a vehicle whilst over the legal alcohol limit.
  • When stopped by the police failing to give a breath test.

At the Roadside

The first test that you will take after the police have stopped you will be a breath test. You are breaking the law if you refuse to take a breath test, but if you do refuse you will be arrested and taken to a police station where a sample of your blood or urine will be taken for testing. Note that only a doctor can take a sample of your blood, and only with your consent.

At the Police Station

When you arrive at the police station two samples will be taken. The lowest reading will be used as evidence in your case. You should be given a printout of the alcohol level that has been detected for your own records. Usually the samples are just breath samples, but the police can request that you give a blood or urine sample. This may happen if you are unable to give a breath sample, as you are too drunk. Also, the police may not have a breath device or a qualified officer to operate it available. A doctor may also have informed the police that your condition may be because of drugs and not alcohol.

What Happens if I am Charged?

If your alcohol tests are positive you will be told your rights and cautioned about anything you say can be used in evidence against you. The details of your offence will be recorded on your charge sheet that you will have to sign. You will be given a copy for your records. You will then be free to go and expected to appear at the court at the stated date and time on your charge sheet.

The Penalties

If you are found guilty of drink-driving the penalties are:
  • A ban from driving for at least 1 year.
  • A fine of up to £5,000.
  • Between 3 and 11 points to be put on your licence.
  • A prison sentence of up to 6 months.

What are the Legal Alcohol Levels?

You can be found guilty of drink driving if you have the following levels of alcohol in your blood:
  • 35 microgrammes of alcohol in a100 millilitres of your breath.
  • 80 milligrammes of alcohol in a 100 millilitres of your blood.
  • 107 milligrammes of alcohol in a 100 millilitres of your urine.

Note that if one of the two breath tests you will take is below 39 microgrammes you will not be charged. If your breath test is between 40 and 50 microgrammes you must be offered the chance to give an alternative blood or urine specimen. However, if your breath test is over 51 microgrammes you will be automatically charged and face an appearance in court.

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I was charged with a drink driving offence blew 54 got to attend court in February this is my first conviction with the police ever what am I likely to receive
Stevo - 21-Jan-19 @ 3:16 PM
I got pulled over failed the roadside breath test so then was taken to the police station where I was breathalysed again and blew 43 and 41 they took my lower reading on the charge sheet is says my reply was” I would like a blood test” however the police didn’t give me one? Now I have a court date on the 28/11/18 and am very confused on why they didn’t give me a blood test
Aakash - 22-Nov-18 @ 10:59 PM
Fool - Your Question:
I have just been caught drinking driving and blow 55 1st offence what would I get if I say guilty. Is it a years ban and a fine.

Our Response:
Please see the link here, which will answer your question more fully.
CourtroomAdvice - 14-Jun-18 @ 10:08 AM
I have just been caught drinking driving and blow 55 1st offence what would I get if I say guilty.Is it a years ban and a fine .
Fool - 13-Jun-18 @ 3:29 PM
I blow 137 on my breath test? What will happen? It's my 2 time in 6 years
Rafael1980 - 13-May-18 @ 10:17 PM
This statement in the article is incorrect: 'If your breath test is between 40 and 50 microgrammes you must be offered the chance to give an alternative blood or urine specimen' The requirement to provide the option to provide a blood or urine sample was abolished some time ago. It was originally there to allow for machine inaccuracy but as technology and accuracy has improved, the blood/urine option between 40 and 50 microgrammes has been removed.
Jimmy D - 8-May-18 @ 4:44 PM
Judda - Your Question:
I blow 40 in my breath test what will happen can't afford to lose my license as I'm a lgv driver I have no points and no other conviction worried and feeling stupid.

Our Response:
You can see the link here, which will give you a reliable estimation of what sentence you can expect to receive.
CourtroomAdvice - 1-May-18 @ 2:14 PM
I blow 40 in my breath test what will happen can't afford to lose my license as I'm a lgv driver I have no points and no other conviction worried and feeling stupid.
Judda - 30-Apr-18 @ 9:00 AM
Chef - Your Question:
Hey I was pulled over outside my house last night blew 73 and got court date on 18th it’s my first offence I feel pretty bad and really stupid for doing it. What will I get I won’t go to prison for this. Thanks

Our Response:
The drink driving penalty calculator link here provides a reliable estimation of what you can expect to receive upon conviction of drink driving at Magistrates' Court in England and Wales. However, as the article also states, the courts do have the discretion to deviate from the guidelines where there is evidence of extreme and/or multiple mitigating or aggravating factors surrounding a particular case (e.g. a serious road traffic collision).
CourtroomAdvice - 26-Feb-18 @ 10:15 AM
Sorry was meant to ask if I will go to prison as I’m freaking out about it. Many thanks
Chef - 25-Feb-18 @ 3:00 PM
Hey I was pulled over outside my house last night blew 73 and got court date on 18th it’s my first offence I feel pretty bad and really stupid for doing it. What will I get I won’t go to prison for this. Thanks
Chef - 25-Feb-18 @ 2:58 PM
Its done now theres not alot you can do until court.??I v been to court second time after blowing 3 times over in 11 years. When you go it might be worth speaki g to the duty solicitor.Where they sit you can roughly tell you what they aregoing to do. When i went in they put me in the box and low and behold of to prision i went for 2 months where as the first time i sat behind my solicitor.Its a scarey situation.When you go just be aware that you might be going home a bit later than you think.Bring someone with you.It will all depend on the day and evedence.The prision side was not as bad as i thought it would be BUT its not something that i would recommend.It was hard being away from family and not being able to sort out any issues at home but you keeppositive knowing that you will be home soon.
Sillygirl - 18-Feb-18 @ 12:33 PM
@Sangu - see a solicitor. If you were drunk in charge of a care, it doesn't matter if it is a car park or out on the open road, it's still considered illegal to drink and drive.
OllieN - 6-Feb-18 @ 2:44 PM
I blew 55 and i had no conviction before i just went to park the car in a secure carpark and i was caught whats the best thing i can do
Sangu - 31-Jan-18 @ 12:42 AM
I blew 49 last night and wasn’t offered the chance to do a urine or blood test. Can I use this in court?
JBen - 21-Jan-18 @ 10:13 AM
I blew 141 and it's my 2nd time in 3years, will I go to prison?
Sido - 13-Jan-18 @ 8:46 PM
hello my boyfriend got pulled over and arrested for having cannabis in his system when doing an on the road side drug test he was then taken to the police station and given a bloody test this was all before the week before Christmas and we still have not head anything? is this normal how long does it usally to take to know what is happening?
tdot - 4-Jan-18 @ 1:02 PM
I got pulled last night never been done for drinking and driving had 4 beers but did have a few the night before plus am on pain killers so can’t drink loads I have been told that it also carries a jail sentence so am totally worried start to 2018 and don’t know what to do any advice or experience would help pls as I am a single parent to and don’t wanna lose my son
Jonno - 1-Jan-18 @ 5:18 PM
@JackTheLad - thanks for this. I'm in the same boat. Have to go to court in January, it's messed up my Christmas for sure and will mess up my 2018. My own stupid fault I know :(
NinaB - 18-Dec-17 @ 12:23 PM
Hi @Jeanie if your anything like me you've never been to court before and are absolutely terrified but don't worry it's not as bad as it seems. Turn up on the day as requested and make sure you are early. I asked where to go when i was in there as i had no idea, then I waited until my name was called. Some people get a legal representative but thats not always affordable, plus it would have to be exceptional circumstances in which you'd get off a ban or the fine. In the room you will be advised where to sit, there will be about three magistrates sat at the front and there will be the usher, someone writing everything down and i forget who else was in there as i was a bit dazed! You need to take your license with you as the court will confiscate it. You will be asked to give your account of what happened on the day and then the magistrates will decide on the ban length and fine. It's not as bad as you think and it doesn't take too long, just stay calm and it will be over before you know it. Good Luck
JackTheLad - 16-Dec-17 @ 9:46 PM
Hi, I was stopped and blew a breath reading of 55 at the police station. I’ve been given a court date but i’m worrying as I dont know what to expect. I have never been convicted for drink driving before and currently have 3 point on my record a previous speeding charge. Does anyone have a rough idea as to what I can expect or have a similar story that you could tell me what your outcome was. Thanks
Jeanie - 25-Nov-17 @ 6:29 PM
@Shaz - it doesn't look good. If she's seen on camera as driving, or leaving the scene then she'll definitely be charged :(
RR - 30-Oct-17 @ 3:06 PM
My daughter has been charged with drink driving and had smashed her car she dis not stop and the police turned up at a party over an hour later and she was given a breath test which showed a reading of 93 however she had continued to drink at tje party. She is currently at uni training g to be a teacher and a charge will seriously jeopardise her being allowed to continue this. Can any one help me to prepare jer for tje likely outcome. Thanks
Shaz - 27-Oct-17 @ 9:10 PM
Hi nic: I blew 41 last week now appearing in court next week. Just wanted to know what happened to you in court if you don't mind me asking. Thanks
Dave - 10-Sep-17 @ 1:34 PM
I blew 40 but was not offered a blood or urine sample. Im due in court next week. What could be the possible outcome, does it look like ill lose my license?
Nic - 31-Aug-17 @ 2:52 PM
I blew 54 it's my first offence what am I likely to get
Will - 29-Aug-17 @ 1:58 PM
I forgot to mention that I had a bottle of wine whilst walking home from the rtc
Gman - 14-Jul-17 @ 12:21 AM
I had a Rtc last week. My car has now been written off. Nobody was injured. I was driving through country lanes, swirved to avoid a small fox, then collided with a low stone narrow bridge. I was unable to contact the police at the time as of location and no signal on the mobile phone. I therefore walked towards the direction of my home. The policepicked me up a mile and a half away from my car (35 mins). I was cooperative and admitted driving. I was breathalised and arrested. This was at 2345hr. I had 2 ciders at 7pm and was well steaming the night before. I blew 126. Any advice please?
Gman - 14-Jul-17 @ 12:19 AM
I am type 1 diabetic had 3 glass of wine and 1 and half Guinness then slept 3 and half to 4 Hours then drove didn't eat much i blew 65 roadside but 105 at the police station while beginning to feel hypo but i had no IV blood test why? After blood sugar reading was done it was 14 blood sugar but felt hypo is there complication because ketone and Acetone levels are greater in t1 diabetics...I had lost control but hit no one or nothing Airbag Came undone should I not of been taken to hospital... Please help with advice as on bail till 12th May with out charge but cant afford solicitor... Have my licence 3 half yrs and don't drink on any regular scale..
Morgano - 2-May-17 @ 3:24 AM
I had a couple of beers in the early afternoon (2x 600ml Cobra) but unfortunately hadnt eaten. I later drove at 5pm. I felt absolutely fine but rear ended a van. It was damage only. The driver stated no injury (but later said his back hurt). We exchanged particulars, He told me he had called police because of his company policy. I said there was no requirement for police and I was going home. I locked up my car and a nearby resident who had seen I was very distraught (my car was a classic that I had for 20 years and the front was totalled.) offered me a lift home which I gratefully accepted. I got home and I was in a terrible mental state, I downed 3 more Cobras and suddenly there was police smashing at my door! I let the officer in, and he questioned me without caution. He asked when I had last had a drink and I said a minute ago. I told him I had been drinking heavily since I had returned home. This was some 45 minutes after the accident. He then required me to provide a sample of breath and I had to remind him that there is a legal requirement to perform a breath test at least 20 mins after last consumption. ...... I blew 63. He arrested me, took me halfway across the county to the only working nick available. Up until that point I had been treated well and I had been overly cooperative and friendly. I had been told I would be tested on the EBM, interviewed and quickly released. During my detention check in, I was asked about my medical history and I refused to answer as I deemed it extremely private and personal. At this point the custody Sergeant got nasty. The conveying officers were also giving arrest story to the custody officer (the arresting officer was not present) and they failed to mention that I had gone home and started to get drunk. So I piped up to correct and give the true account of the situation. The custody officer told me to shut up so I gave her some lip. I was then tossed in a cell for 6 hours and only given 2 small cups of warm water. Even my glasses were taken from me as a petty punishment, the custody officer smirked as she ordered them off me! Finally (I had no way of knowing how much time had passed) after about 6 hours I was brought out to see a police medic. At detention I asked several things. I wanted to see the FME as my neck and back were hurting (I have crushed vertebraes for which I am on strong pain medication for and the time for my 2nd pill had long since passed by the time I was eventually released) I wanted to speak to a solicitor, I wanted a copy of the code of practice and PACE, and I also wished to make a formal complaint about the rudeness of the custody officer. None of these were given despite me asking everytime my cell was checked. Eventually at about 2.30am I was pulled out and told the interview could not yet go on as the duty solicitor had not arrived. I was exhausted, extremely distraught and feeling very very ill. I reluctantly agreed to be interviewed without a solicitor being prese
Steve - 4-Apr-17 @ 12:05 PM
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